In Vietnam, I posted some photos of the propaganda posters that can be seen on almost every street across the country. Cambodia doesn’t have the same kinds of government posters – it’s a democracy (albeit a deeply flawed one). But there are plenty of signs promoting the main political parties, and a few public information posters. Here is a selection:
There are three major political parties in Cambodia, as well as several smaller ones. Hun Sen (above, centre) is Cambodia’s strongman Prime Minister who has been in power either alone or in coalition since 1985.
One of the leading opposition parties is the Sam Rainsy Party. Sam Rainsy is currently in self-imposed exile in Australia after the government removed his parliamentary immunity and convicted him in absentia of defamation (he had accused the government of corruption and claimed that Hun Sen had been involved in the murder of a union leader).
He was pardoned by the king and returned to Cambodia but left again after being accused of inciting racial violence and destruction of property.
Off-topic: this is Hun Sen’s beachfront mansion in Sihanoukville. It’s in a very odd location right next to the main tourist beach. You’d think he’d have chosen somewhere a little more secluded.
In Phnom Penh, two other Asian strongmen have had roads named after them. This one is named after Chairman Mao, an ally and enabler of Pol Pot:
And directly opposite, a road named after the deranged enslaver of the North Korean people, Kim Il Sung:
Though it’s a North Korean leader who had the honour of having a road named after him, South Korea has far closer links with Cambodia these days. South Korean property developers have made inroads into the country and Korean goods have a strong presence in Phnom Penh’s luxury shopping malls. As in Vietnam, Korean pop stars appear to be very popular (particularly Rain and Wonder Girls). Many of the intercity buses have been sold / donated by South Korea:
It’s not a good picture, but you can see that the bus still has the Korean destination on the sign above the windows. This bus once travelled between Suwon Bus Terminal and Sadang Station.
This sign from Sihanoukville gives an indication of the problems caused by sexpats and Gary Glitter-types:
This anti-littering poster in Battambang has a picture of the central market in the background.
A similarly styled public information poster at the top of this post warns the public not to engage in drug abuse, gangland executions and domestic violence. I saw the same poster several times, always outside schools.
Finally, a sign that reminds of the fact that Cambodia still has a serious landmine problem: